RANCHI: Finally officials in Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) with the help of Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI), have largely succeeded in getting control over Jharia underground fire which has been a cause of concern from the last one hundred years. Jharia underground fire, which was spread over 8.9 sq km area in 1994, is now is confined only to 3.2 sq km area.
Though it is not exactly known how the fire was started, the first fire in Jharia mines was reported in 1916. BCCL officials claimed that coal fires may have been caused by lightning, forest fires, human accidents, and improper shutting down of old mines. It is understood that the fire started when the mines were owned by private parties, who used conventional techniques to dig out coal.
“In a major achievement, underground fire has substantially decreased in Jharia. In a thermal imaging survey conducted by a Canada-US based company in 1994-95, it was found to be spread over 8.9 sq kilometer, while in a recent survey it was found to have confined only to 3.28 square kilometer,” said a BCCL engineer.
“Earlier, foreign agencies were hired involving huge amount of money for controlling the fire which failed drastically. Later, we started a new mining process,” said mining engineer. According to BCCL,the fires have already consumed more than 37 million tonnes of coal while another two billion tons became inaccessible, resulting into losses worth `22,000 crores. Locals, however, claimed that open cast mines has brought health hazards.